The impact of psychological factors on adolescent parenting

Irudayam Adaikalam, Fordham University


Each year, over half a million American teenagers become parents. While some are able parents, others experience difficulties in fulfilling the role. In the past decade, research has become increasingly concerned with teen parenting issues. Yet, factors associated with adequate parenting have not been ascertained. In order to optimize the service outcomes, it is crucial that social work practitioners identify factors that enable teens to function adequately as parents. The purpose of the present research was to investigate the relationship of parenting adequacy of teen mothers and their self esteem, locus of control, and their use of family support systems and community services. The research was conducted using a random sample of 152 teen mothers from the Teenage Services Act (TASA) programs, administered by Human Resources Administration (HRA), New York City. The instruments in this study included HOME Inventory, Self-Esteem Scale, Locus of Control Scale and a scale constructed by the researcher to measure family support, service utilization and other demographics. The research identified the psychological variables, self esteem and locus of control as having higher impact on parenting adequacy than all support systems. Teen mothers with high self esteem or internal locus of control were found to be more adequate parents than mothers with low self esteem or external locus of control. Among African American mothers, a combination of self esteem, locus of control and service support explained 38% of parenting adequacy. Among the Hispanics, however, self esteem was the only predictor of parenting adequacy.

Subject Area

Social work

Recommended Citation

Adaikalam, Irudayam, "The impact of psychological factors on adolescent parenting" (1994). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI9501431.